Like many Christians throughout the world, today I began a new Bible reading plan. After much thought and discussion with my fiancé, who will be reading through the same plan, we decided to go through the Bible-Eater reading plan. Yeah, I did say in a previous post that I had narrowed it down to two different plans, but one look at the Bible-Eater plan changed my mind. And I mean, c’mon, it is by far the Bible reading plan with the coolest name. I feel like a real man when I read as I tell people with my chest puffed out, “Yeah, I’m using the Bible-Eater plan!” Ha. Okay, maybe I need to get out more. Nevertheless, this new macho plan began where most plans do—in Genesis. Actually, it also includes reading from Matthew as well, so I read two chapters in Genesis and one in Matthew. I was very glad to have read in Genesis today.
The Vitality of Genesis 1-2
Genesis 1-2, doctrinally, is vital to the Christian faith. We find the truth that God is eternal. We find the truth that God is the creator of all things. We can even affirm that everything he created and creates is good. We see that God is ultimately great and sovereign since as his voice spoke, creation obeyed. “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). In fact, we see God doing something and it happening at least 21 times. In other words, we see “God said” or “And God said” or a particular action from God and it immediately happening. Genesis 1-2 is full of total obedience to the will and power of God as God does what he wants. Nothing enticed him to create the world. Out of his sovereignty and for the praise of his glory God created the world. There was no need for God to create the world, so in this we see not only God’s power to create the world, but also his divine sovereignty to do as he pleases. In fact he does whatever he wants (Psalm 115:3)! We see the pinnacle of creation as being God’s creation of man. This was because man was created in the very image of God. This teaches us how precious every life is and my mind begins to think about the horrors of abortion. It also leads us to understand why abortion and all other forms of murder are so appalling and offensive and sinful before God—because the life that you are ending has been created in the image of a holy God. We also see in Genesis 1-2 the truth that God created man as male and female and as a result of the creation of the woman from the man who was given to him as a helper, “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Marriage is defined by God in Genesis 2 as being between one man and one woman and this marriage relationship is meant to be for life. This is made abundantly clear as Jesus refers back to this infallible truth when he responds to the Pharisees concerning divorce (see Matthew 19). There are countless teachings and truths found in the first two chapters of the Bible. The most important to me is the focus on God. It is a great place to begin reading in this new year. I needed this reminder that the Bible and everything in my life is about God and not me.
As I studied this morning in these two chapters, there was one thing that struck my mind. The first half of the first verse of the Bible could be meditated on for ages to come. The joy I received from thinking about the God who was there “in the beginning” has yet to cease. I am walking on the clouds as I think about how this God of Genesis 1:1a chose me in his grace and saved me by the work and person Jesus Christ. I stand in awe of this God and I want to share a few of my meager thoughts that I jotted down as I meditated on the glory of God before creation.
January 1, 2013 @ 11:30 A.M.
“In the beginning, God” is a remarkable phrase. This affirms the eternality of God. This affirms and exalts the preeminence of God. He is first. When nothing was, he was (v. 2). What was this like? There was nothing but God. No earth. No universe. There was darkness over the earth after he created it, but what about before he created the earth. What about the first half of verse 1? What was that like? I imagine that it was perfectly joyous. There was perfect relationship between God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This perfect Trinitarian God has complete and total joy (Ps. 16:11). I imagine there being a light so bright that it is nothing like we have ever seen before. The light, which is the sun, was created by this God, which has eternally existed (v. 3-5). This greatest and brightest light is the glory of God.
“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” – Revelation 21:23
The New Jerusalem will have no need for a sun or a moon because God’s glory will light it and this light is greater than all the others to the point that there is no need for them. I cannot imagine this. What a statement! There is no need for this gargantuan of a star that lights the entire earth from 92,960,000 miles away since God will be there. Where God is, there is fullness of joy and the brightness of the light of his glory. God’s joy and glory are ultimate and maximum in his presence. So, before God created anything, there was nothing but God. How utterly perfect this must have been! 2 trillion times brighter and greater than the sun and 4 trillion times greater than the joy of a mother at the sight of her newborn child was and is in my Trinitarian God. And this perfect glory and perfect joy of God in the beginning will last forever. God’s glory and joy are eternal since he is eternal. “In the beginning God…” Wow! I see nothing but utter existence. God just existed as he always had (whatever that even means!) in perfect joy and perfect glory. God had all of his attributes before the world was made. Humans didn’t create God’s wrath or his love. His perfect character has existed as long as he has. Everything God is today, on Jan. 1, 2013, he always has been. What a thought! There are things that can alter our character for better and worse. However, nothing alters God’s. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). And he is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4).
God as Conductor and Creation as Orchestra
I envision creation as being an orchestra assembling on a stage. God is the conductor and each part of creation is a portion of the orchestra. I see God standing at the front of the stage facing the stage with no one there. It is just God on the stage and he is perfectly happy and joyous and glorious. Oh, and how this joy and glory must be exalted, praised, and shared. He will create an orchestra to do just that. First, he calls for the woodwinds and those musicians carrying the flutes, bassoons, oboes, and clarinets walk into position as soon as their conductor commands. Then comes the brass section with all of the trumpets, French horns, trombones, and tubas. The percussionists follow suit as they assemble into position when their conductor commands them. Finally, the best and most important part of the orchestra is assembled at the word of the conductor. The string section moves into position as each player with his or her violin, viola, cello, or stringed bass. Then, at the motion of the conductor’s baton, the symphony plays in perfect harmony. What a glorious sound this is. At the end of the performance, the conductor turns and takes a bow as the crowd praises him. This reminds me so much of God in creation. Each portion of creation comes on the scene and into existence only as God commands. The sun and moon exist when God commands them to exist. Each in their own turn, the sky, sun, moon, stars, plants, land, waters, universe, earth, and animals are created by God and obey his command. Then, the greatest part of God’s symphony takes its place. God creates man in his own image. This part of creation is the grandest because man is made not just by him, but also after him! This is the glorious string section of a wonderful and perfect symphony orchestra! “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). The Word says, “behold”! Pay attention to this: When God looked at this symphony of life and universe and matter and being that he had created, he saw that it was very good! The symphony performed beautifully together and the sound was harmonious and good. They played to the praise of the glory of God in which they were each in the presence of as God dwelled with them. Even man participated in this perfect harmony. All of this glory and joy and beauty makes me see even more clearly how nasty and appalling and belittling sin is to the glory of God. Sin robs God of glory and man of joy. Soon, the string section will make a sour note and cause the symphony to be cursed. While the rest of the orchestra will play beautifully as they always obey and praise their conductor, the strings (man) will choose to rob the conductor of his deserved glory and this will make a hideously sour series of notes from the Garden and into 21st century America.
Perfect Glory–Perfect Joy
The God of Genesis 1:1a (“In the beginning, God…”) is a glorious God who is full of perfect joy. This joy and glory overflowed into the creation of a grand universe and world filled with creatures who reflect his glory. The most amazing thing about it all is that God will manifest and reveal himself most fully to man a second time when he comes to dwell among us once again in the person Jesus Christ. And that is the glory of Matthew 1. God came to save sinners for the same purpose for which he created the world—for the praise and glory of his name! For his name’s sake, he saves us! And this salvation comes from the God who has always existed in perfect joy and in radiant glory!